AGENCIES AND THE MBAS; RATING THE RATE CLAIMS; JOE CAMEL AS REBEL; RELUCTANT AGREEMENT; ONLY FRINGE HATE LIMBAUGH

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In response to the Forum article "Agencies: Reach out to future MBAs" by Rodman Sims (AA, Sept. 26):

Mr. Sims rightly chastises agencies for not getting more involved with promoting their profession in business schools. However, it is not clear if he is also suggesting that MBAs are in any way superior to "communication majors who study advertising."

I agree that students majoring in advertising need to be aware that advertising is part of marketing, and that marketing is part of business. It is unfair to suggest that students majoring in advertising in a communication (or "mass media") program are unaware of this reality.

As an MBA with industry experience now teaching advertising in a communication arts department, I try to instill in my students a consciousness of the fact that advertising does not exist in a vacuum. Most of our ad majors take courses in marketing and research methods, so I don't see why Mr. Sims feels our graduates are any less worthy of being courted by ad agencies (or, for that matter, by their clients).

Kartik Pashupati

University of West Florida

Pensacola, Fla.

(Sent via Prodigy)

Mr. Sims, the solution to the problem of client relations is not in courting "MBA types" but rather adjusting to meet their needs and goals. No longer can advertising agencies afford to isolate themselves in a world of jargon inconsistent with the business world.

Remember, it is those former MBAs/executives who write your commission check and will negotiate your rates to fit their bottom line. Agencies must adapt to provide tangible results and measurements of success. ... Providing figures like share of voice, gross impressions and cost per thousand are less meaningful and reliable than setting a goal for return on the communication investment through actual responses, sales, or some other measurable action.

Instead of working to set up programs to teach the MBAs about communication, I suggest you look to Northwestern University's Integrated Marketing Communication program to bridge the gap. We, as IMC students, learn to become proficient in marketing communication as a vital business function, not as an isolated fixed cost.

Kevin T. Sidell

Northwestern University

Evanston, Ill.

Kate Fitzgerald's article "Hellbent for the digital highway" (AA, Sept. 28) is a keen analysis of the highly competitive long distance market. However, she makes a grave error in perpetuating the hype these giants feed millions of Americans daily. ... MCI's Friends & Family plan gives most long distance customers a net 6% savings, not 20%. Even worse, the "new, improved" F&F II gives most customers a negative 1% savings!

AT&T is not innocent either-their True Savings plan is "revenue neutral" and was created to offset the latest AT&T rate increase. Even Sprint, in its emphasis on the high quality of fiber optic transmission, depends on the consumer's lack of knowledge that most long distance phone calls are transported by fiber optic lines.

I use and represent one of those brands in the so-called "all other" category-which brings consumers real and fair pricing on their long distance usage.

Wayne T. Yoshida

Huntington Beach, Calif.

In response to "An adman's struggle with Joe Camel and free speech" (Forum, AA, Sept. 23), Joe Camel is the baddest dude around. The more government officials, parents and even advertising professionals come down on Joe, the higher his status rises among those who consider themselves rebels.

In a strange way, Joe symbolizes freedom in the U.S.; freedom from over-regulation, freedom from political correctness. And, yes, freedom to do something to yourself that isn't good for you.

Camel has been successful not only because of the strategic positioning of its spokes-camel, but also because of the overwhelmingly negative publicity the campaign has received from "the authorities." After all, Marlboro is macho. Newports are fun. But Camel is baaaaad!

But let's be clear about cause and effect. Joe Camel does not cause kids to smoke any more than Tony the Tiger causes kids to eat Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. Just because kids can recognize Joe Camel on outdoor boards does not mean they are going to take up smoking.

In one experimental study aimed precisely at this question, children ages 3 to 8, when asked to identify who Joe Camel's product was for, volunteered words to the effect, "Nobody! Smoking is bad for you!"

Fairly reliable predictors for initiation into the smoking habit are a risk-taking personality, peer pressure and a home environment where smoking is condoned. The cigarette manufacturers have basically gotten it right when they say that advertising plays a signal role in differentiating the brands.

Michael L. Maynard

Assistant professor

Temple University

Philadelphia

What a relief to read Bob Garfield's comments on tastelessness in advertising (Ad Review, AA, Sept. 26). I am not a right-winger, religious fanatic, Pro-Life member, wet blanket or prude. Yet I often experience a twinge of guilt for feeling uncomfortable with ads which, in Garfield's words, "go too far."

It's as if I'm betraying my avant garde, 1960s roots by the reaction. I believe dark or demented humor is often the funniest, but always the least appropriate, selling tool.

There. I've said it out loud. (But if Jerry Falwell calls, I'm still not in!)

Kimberlin Ross-Polito

Mansfield, Ohio

I was very unimpressed with Charles E. Everett's reasoning concerning the Florida Citrus Commission's decision to drop ads on Rush Limbaugh's radio show (Letters, AA, Oct. 3).

He seems to believe that the New Republic, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting and NOW members represent unbiased and mainstream opinions of Rush, which led to ad cancellations. These groups represent the far left liberal establishment and just can't tolerate the thought of anyone questioning their twisted views. What Rush says just can't be allowed in their paranoid world.

The fascism of the left is indeed scary when they actually believe, as Mr. Everett seems to, that any disagreement is an expression of hate. They send the chilling message to advertisers that only the politically correct need apply. Their apartheid of thought should have no place in free commerce.

It is sad that the Florida Citrus Commission didn't have the courage to stand up to this fringe attack.

J.F. Frohwein

Rock Rapids, Iowa

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